SYDNEY: New Zealand’s pace attack will inspire their first Test series win in Australia in 30 years, batting great Doug Walters said on Saturday, adding it will be “good for cricket”.
Walters received support for his view from former Test paceman Len Pascoe, who claims Josh Hazlewood may be at risk of losing his spot this series and Peter Siddle could struggle after losing some of his pace.
The former Australian cricketer said Black Caps spearheads Trent Boult and Tim Southee would be backing themselves to spark wins in the first two Tests on bouncy Gabba and Perth pitches.
He said the swinging pink ball in the historic day-night third Test in Adelaide would also play into New Zealand’s hands.
“This is easily their best chance,” Walters told Australian Associated Press (AAP) of New Zealand’s odds of winning their first Test series across the Tasman Sea since 1985.
“I think it would be good for cricket if they beat us to be honest — it would be great for New Zealand cricket. And there’s a fair chance they will beat us.
“We haven’t got the greatest side and they have performances on the board that says they can beat us. Plus that swinging pink ball in Adelaide. New Zealand’s bowlers would like the look of this series.”
Australian left-arm quick Mitchell Starc has been in sensational one-day form, claiming 23 wickets at an average of 7.47 for his state New South Wales ahead of Sunday’s domestic tournament final.
However, Siddle has not played much cricket since taking match figures of six for 67 in Australia’s fifth Ashes Test victory at The Oval.
He claimed one for 53 off 10 overs in the Prime Minister’s XI’s thumping 102-run loss to New Zealand in Canberra on Friday.
Mitchell Johnson has warmed up with seven one-day wickets in two games for Western Australia including five for 31 against Queensland on Wednesday.
Hazlewood was rested from the fifth Ashes Test triumph after taking 16 wickets at 25.75 against England. Pascoe believed Siddle and Hazlewood may struggle this southern summer season.
“Starc is exceptional, hopefully he doesn’t get bowled into the ground and he stays fit the whole series,” Pascoe told AAP.
“Mitchell Johnson is great but I think the third bowler is a problem. If Hazlewood doesn’t perform well at the Gabba I think he will find it hard to get back into the other Tests.”
Pascoe said he wasn’t convinced by Siddle, who only contested the fifth Test in this year’s Ashes series in England.
“He’s lost a few yards,” he said.
“In England with the ‘Duke’ balls he’s a difficult customer but he’s back in Australia now. He might struggle a bit. But he will be aware of that and would be working hard in the nets to be competitive.”